US Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson speaks at a National Press Club Luncheon on July 7, 2016, in Washington, DC.   / AFP / MOLLY RILEY        (Photo credit should read MOLLY RILEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Ben Kamisar – Third-party support surging

Voters now confronted with the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are making something abundantly clear: they want another option.

Surveys over the last six weeks have found a steady but noticeable jump in support for third-party candidates. The biggest beneficiary has been Libertarian Gary Johnson, who has shot up from 4.5 percent to 7.2 percent in RealClearPolitics polling averages. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has also seen an uptick since June — from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent.

Pollsters and political scientists say the deep malcontent with Clinton and Trump should give both candidates pause.

“The fact that we have two major party candidates who are enormously disliked by the electorate, enormously and equally disliked, creates the opportunity for the minor party candidates to do better than they would in other presidential elections,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

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